2900 viginia avenue
st. louis, mo 63118
in need of a decent meal prior to the cardinals/brewers game at busch stadium, carrie and i decided to give the shaved duck a shot. beating out pho grand and sub zero for our pregame dinner, the shaved duck is located in the tower grove neighborhood, and focuses on slow smoked meats and classic sides. we arrived right at five o'clock, and were given our choice of any seat in the small dining room.
the shaved duck has a nice list of craft beers, and it took me a minute to narrow down my options. i eventually opted for a bottle of the rogue chipotle ale from oregeon. this is an excellent amber ale that is brewed with chipotle peppers that provide a bit of heat on the finish.
arriving mere minutes after placing our orders were our two starters. the first one pictured above was the hush duckies, which are just hush puppies filled with bacon and onions. it has been years since i have had hush puppies, and i found these to be very good with a nice crisp exterior and soft center dotted with bacon and onion. the dijon aioli they were served with was also good and had a nice kick to it.
our second starter was even better than the hush duckies. above we have thick cut bacon encrusted with walnuts and brown sugar served with pears and bleu cheese. although maybe just a touch too salty, the sweetness from the pears and brown sugar did a good job of cutting the salt, and the bleu cheese added a nice tang to the mix.
with a name like the shaved duck, i thought that going for a duck offering on our first visit was a must. unfortunately, this turned out to be a mistake. my entree choice was the disappointing pan roasted duck breast in a smoked apple sauce. the duck, while cooked medium rare as promised, was just too tough and chewy, and lacked that savory flavor i was looking for. making matters worse was the apple sauce (partially my own fault as i overlooked it on the menu), which was just too sweet and didn't compliment the duck in my opinion. luckily, the creamy mac and cheese i chose as my side was quite good.
carrie also went for a dish featuring duck, and while she enjoyed hers more than i did mine, she was not thrilled with it. her entree was duck confit pasta with smoked tomatoes and kalamata olives in a spicy fennel cream sauce. i did not try this dish when it was hot, but did somewhat enjoy the leftovers later in the evening.
we also had an order of cornbread at carrie's request. as i have mentioned before, i am not a great fan of cornbread as a whole. while i do not find it offensive, it just doesn't do a whole lot for me. the shaved duck's offering was no different.
declining another round of beer for the third time, we settled the tab and attempted to hit ted drewes before the cardinals game only to find it was closed for the season. even though my entree was a miss and carrie's was just ok, i feel like the shaved duck has a lot of good things going for it. the beer list is nice, the starters were great, and i think that next time if we stick to traditional barbecue selections we will have a more successful meal overall.